Brogna saddened by Dipoto's exit

Brogna saddened by Dipoto's exit

ANAHEIM -- Keith Johnson had his first day as the Angels' new player-information coach on Friday while Rico Brogna, the man he replaced, continued to fulfill new duties as a professional scout, helping the organization find a bat while agonizing over what he could've done differently.

"I just feel part of the team, and by not being there, I don't feel whole," Brogna said in a phone conversation on Friday. "I feel like part of me is still there."

Brogna is grateful for his new position, which he stressed several times he does not consider a demotion, and he's looking forward to helping the Angels in a different way.

But he also misses his old job.

"Like crazy," Brogna said. "I feel strange every day that I'm not there."

As player-information coach, a role he inherited when Rick Eckstein left for the University of Kentucky in August 2014, Brogna was essentially the bridge between the front office and coaching staff when it came to analytics and scouting information.

But Dipoto's resignation, a byproduct of persistent discord with longtime manager Mike Scioscia, prompted Brogna to transition back into scouting. Johnson, the former Triple-A manager who most recently served as a roving infield instructor, was named Brogna's replacement on Thursday.

Brogna was really close with Dipoto, rooming with him while they were players on the Mets in the mid-1990s, working under him in the D-backs' front office, then being brought in as Dipoto's special assistant before the 2014 season.

Given their relationship, the Angels' brass felt taking Brogna out of Scioscia's coaching staff would help quell some of the tension.

But Brogna -- wholesome, easygoing and universally well-liked -- believes it could've continued to work.

"I think the way the job was going was well-received, and I was really close with players and the staff that I was working with," said Brogna, who was away from the team for four weeks earlier this year because of a brief bout with testicular cancer. "We were tight; we had a system going. It was working."

Now Brogna feels responsible for the wedge between Dipoto and Scioscia, especially because it was a contentious meeting about scouting information that preceded Dipoto's resignation. Brogna isn't sure what happened, and he isn't quite certain what he could've done differently.

He just wishes he could've done something.

"My job -- my primary job -- was a liaison, a bridge, that keeps all different avenues together, harmonized, and coordinating everybody's point of view," Brogna said. "And ultimately, that was what was kind of at the crux of this situation -- the arguments, the information discussions. So I feel like I did a poor job. And that is not sitting well with me. I don't like to go 0-for-4. If I go 0-for-4, I'm going to go back, I'm going to hit off the tee until I am tired, and then tomorrow I'm going to come in early, and I'm going to try to get a hit, or two, or three. It kills me that I won't get that chance."

Alden Gonzalez is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Gonzo and "The Show", follow him on Twitter @Alden_Gonzalez and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.